Last updated on: 2/6/2015 | Author:

Phil Plait, PhD Biography

Astronomer and Author of Slate's "Bad Astronomy" blog
Pro to the question "Should Any Vaccines Be Required for Children?"

“In some areas, public school authorities have mandated that students be vaccinated for various diseases, and that of course can run afoul of parents’ beliefs. I’ve wrestled with this problem for a while, and I eventually came to the conclusion that a parent does not have the right to have their child in a public school if that child is unvaccinated, and for the same reason health care workers should not be unvaccinated. It all comes down to a very simple reality: It puts other children at risk.

If you want to rely on the public trust then you have an obligation to the public trust as well, and part of that obligation is not sending your child to a place with other children if they aren’t immunized against preventable, communicable diseases.

I imagine the anti-vaccination movement will be up in arms about this, but here’s the thing: They’re wrong. They’ve been trying to tie vaccines to autism for years, andthey’re wrong. They’ve been saying vaccines have dangerous levels of toxins in them, but they’re wrong. They say vaccines overtax a baby’s immune system, but they’re wrong. They say these diseases aren’t that bad, but they’re very wrong. They say lots of things, but the one thing you can count on is that they’re wrong.”

“Should Public School Students Get Mandatory Vaccines?,”, Sep. 24, 2014

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Astronomer, Hubble Heritage Project
  • Author, Slate’s “Bad Astronomy” blog, 2012-present
  • Science Consultant, The Zula Patrol
  • Blogger, Discover Magazine, 2008-2012
  • Education and Public Outreach Group, Physics and Astronomy Department, Sonoma State University, 2000-May 2007
  • Former NASA Contractor, Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Astronomer, Hubble Space Telescope
  • PhD, Astronomy, University of Virginia, 1994
  • BS, Astronomy, University of Michigan
  • Twitter handle: @BadAstronomer
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Pro & Con Quotes: Should Any Vaccines Be Required for Children?